The Physical Side of Stress in Women

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Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviours, thinking ability and physical health. Apparently, people handle stress differently.  In fact, the response to stress varies between males and females. Symptoms can be vague and may mimic those caused by medical conditions.

Women are believed, to face situations heads on rather than using the ‘fight and flight’ response. This is thought to be mediated by oxytocin, an anti-stress hormone produced more in females as compared to males, hence helping them in managing stress tactfully.

With women always trying to match up to their male counterparts at work while living up to the ideal housewife standards at home; they are more prone to be stressed. Stress usually manifests its effects on Behaviour and can be easily spotted with changes in appetite, avoiding responsibilities or increased use of alcohol, drugs, etc. Certain physical symptoms that can be seen are Low energy, Headaches, upset stomach including diarrhea, constipation and nausea, Insomnia, Loss of sexual desire, nervousness and shaking, cold or sweaty hands and feet and also Clenched jaw and grinding teeth. This can in turn lead to mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders, Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke, obesity and other eating disorders, menstrual problems, sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and loss of sexual desire in both men and women, Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss, gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis.

In these present times, Stress is an unavoidable part of our lifestyle. But it all depends on how you manage your stress. Stress management is something we all need to learn. Below are a few ways through which you can relax and prevent stress build up in your daily life;

  • Take deep breaths
  • Pen it down: Keeping a journal or simply writing down the things you are thankful for can help you see the positive side of life and can help you handle stress.
  • Give yourself some time: This could be listening to music, reading a good book, or going for a movie.
  • Studies show that meditation can help lower stress.
  • Sleep well: Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to feel rested.
  • Eat right: Caffeine or high-sugar snacks give you jolts of energy that wear off quickly. Instead, eat foods with vitamin B, such as bananas, fish, avocados, chicken, and dark green, leafy vegetables. Studies show that B vitamins help relieve stress by regulating nerves and brain cells.
  • Sweat it out: Physical activity can relax your muscles and improve your mood. Physical activity may also help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. It boosts the levels of “feel-good” chemicals in your body called endorphins that help improve your mood.
  • Avoid unhealthy ways to manage your stress: This includes drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or overeating. These coping mechanisms may lift you up instantly but can add to your stress levels in the long term. Try substituting these with healthier ways, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or finding a new hobby.
  • Get Vocal: Just being able to talk to a family member or friend about a source of stress may help you feel better. They may not only help you see your problems in new ways but also suggest solutions.
  • Get organized: Being disorganized is not only a sign of stress but can also cause stress. Start preparing To-do lists to help you organize your work and home life. Set your priorities both at work and at home.
  • Help others: Volunteering in your community can help you make new friends and feel good about helping others.

All these activities may help you relax down. If you find yourself struggling to seek medical help. Talk to your doctor who may suggest counseling or prescribe medicines, such as antidepressants or sleep aids.  Your relationships can be a source of major stress in your daily life and it’s okay to see a counselor. You can seek help from

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Support group therapy
  • Relaxation training

Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.

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